Brawn (Headcheese)

Joined Mar 11, 2007
To serve eight

1 pig's head, thoroughly rinsed
4 pig's trotters (feet)
2 onions, peeled
2 carrots, peeled
2 leeks, cleaned
2 stalks of celery
2 heads of garlic, skin on
zest of 2 lemons
a healthy splash of red wine vinegar
a bundle of fresh herbs tied together
2 bay leaves
a scant handful of black peppercorns (tied in cheesecloth—or your will be picking them out of the cooked meat forever)
sea salt

Place the head and trotters in a large pot, cover with water, and add all the other ingredients except salt. As soon as you brought it up to a boil, reduce to a very gentle simmer, skimming as you go.
If using, extract the ears after about 1 hour, rinse them, and dry them carefully. When you can feel the cheek starting to come away from the bone (this should take about 2 ½ hours), remove everything from the liquor and discard the vegetables. Return the liquor to the heat and reduce by about half, then season with salt, remembering this is served cold, which subdues flavors. While still warm, pick through the trotters and pig's head, retrieving the flesh, especially peeling the tongue. The snout is neither fat nor meat; do not be discouraged, it is delicious in your brawn.

Line your terrine with plastic wrap and fill with the retrieved meats. Pour in enough of the reduced liquor just to cover, slamming the mold on the kitchen counter to shake out any air bubbles. Leave to set overnight in the fridge, and before you serve it, remove it in good time to acclimatize without being so warm it is soft and sweaty.

Recipe courtesy "The Whole Beast: Nose To Tail Eating," written by Fergus Henderson, published by Harper Collins, 2004
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